Being our first international 24 hour event only deserves to be memorable and it was. 115 racers from around the world (well mostly USA and Canada) converged on the 63,000 acre forest we call Shawnee Forest and Park for a great day and night of Rogaining.
The stage was set for a great weekend by serving up some awesome weather as teams traveled in Friday. Some chose to camp for free with us and some chose the softer choice of staying in the breathtaking lodge. We heard about the story telling in the hot tub Friday night, that's a great way to prepare for a big event.
Racers began filing into the shelter next to the lake Saturday morning around 7:30am. We welcomed racers as they appeared to be in good health and spirits despite a long day of traveling. little did they know of the ROGAINE course that was about to change their outlook on life, their thoughts about nature's little fury called green briars. So anyway everyone signed in, got their shirts, maps and questions answered and off they went to the car, table or ground to begin plotting their 12 hour course that would take them into darkness. Both the 12 hour and 24 hour teams would start at the same time and on the same course. The 24 hour teams would receive 7 extra UTM coordinates while out on course that would take them even further into Shawnee Forest. All teams were able to check in at remote camps and the lodge to top off the water supply, rest and enjoy a campfire.
We had hot chili and parsely potatoes ready by 8pm and boy did those racers love it. The first wave of hungry bushwhackers began chowing down and then the 12 hour racers got a whiff and before you knew it, we were at the end of the 12 hour event and out of chili which was planned to hold us through the night. We had to switch to our breakfast food by 9:30pm. But no one seemed to care to eat biscuits and gravy all night. It became difficult to get some of the 24 hour racers back on course after discovering and buffet of breakfast. Not sure if we are more famous for a great race course or great food.
Chuck and Todd tallied up the scores and awarded the top three teams and then we gave out some prizes which included; socks, keychain lights, knives and a Princeton Tec Apex headlamp. The 12 hour teams retreated back to the camp or the cozy lodge for a very nice night, A quick trip to Walmart was needed to restock the food supplies for the brave 24 teams still beating down briars. OH yeah everyone discovered the southern Ohio green briar infestation. Many racers returned bleeding and appeared to have just broken through the razor wire at the local prison. Hopefully racers have beaten those down so (if) we can return to collect our checkpoints without dealing with them again.
Around midnight the first team arrived and claimed to have cleaned all the CP's. Well we have always set courses big enough so no one can clear it. After Chuck check the scorecard, we sent them back out for the final 4 bonus CP's that should finish them off. About 4 hours later they returned with victory and still 6 hours ahead of schedule. I guess when we invite these New Yorkers back our course will need to a bit larger. As the final hours passed teams drifted in and enjoyed the hot breakfast buffet of biscuits, gravy, pancakes, bananas, oatmeal, hot cocoa and more. We were expecting many teams to arrive early and have cleared the course but our course got the best of them. A second team from Missouri cleared the course but had no time left to hunt down those final bonus CP's. They settled for second place. Most teams now arriving were ready to get on the road for the long journey home. The remaining teams all received prizes for hanging around and embarked on the final leg back home.
A special thanks goes out to Joe, Todd, Felicia, Kate, the park, forestry and Xanterra for helping out. It would not be possible to provide the quality event without their help.
A Big THANKS to all for making our first international 24 hour ROGAINE a success. (meaning everyone returned without a search party) Really....Adventure minded people are really great... it's a pleasure to serve you!!